When you want something—a relationship, a job, a goal—you put your all into it.
You don’t stop. You keep going until you’ve got what you wanted.
That should be good, right? It means you’re focused. Dedicated. An achiever.
But it also puts you in danger.
Working too hard on anything puts you at risk of burnout. And that includes relationships.
Relationship burnout happens when you put 110% into your love life.
You’re so focused on getting a date or strengthening your relationship that you miss the big picture. Your world revolves around your love life. If you’re feeling close and connected, you want to feel even closer and more connected. If you’re going through a rough patch, your relationship stays on your mind until you’ve figured out how to fix it.
And why not?
Surely relationships deserve that kind of attention.
If you love someone, you want to give him everything. If you don’t have someone yet, then surely you shouldn’t rest until you do.
But a funny thing happens when you focus on something to the exclusion of everything else:
You start to hate it.
Even if it’s something you love, it consumes your attention until it becomes a source of great frustration.
A friend of mine never does online dating for more than a few months at a time. She says that she starts to hate it if she does it for any longer. Instead of seeing it as something fun, it becomes a chore. That resentment starts to bleed through into how she responds to the men who contact her.
So, for their sake as well as hers, she keeps her dips into the online dating pool short and sweet.
When I suggest this approach to other women, they counter it with, “But what if I miss out on someone great because I’m not online?”
It’s true. If you take a break—whether it’s a break from online dating or a break from an intense relationship—you do run the risk of missing out.
You might miss out on some extra fun you might have had otherwise.
But it’s worth it, and here’s why.
When you’re completely focused on just one aspect of your life, whether that’s work or relationships, you neglect other areas of your life that are equally important.
We’ve all heard of someone who’d put in such long hours at work that his or her health was affected. Or the woman who fell for a guy and never saw her friends again.
Friends, family, health, and hobbies all deserve some part of your time and energy. You can’t maintain healthy relationships with friends and family if you won’t leave your beloved’s side.
It’s counterintuitive, but taking a break from something you really enjoy ensures you’ll keep on enjoying it.
When you’re having a great time in a relationship, it’s tempting to spend as much time as possible together to maximize the pleasure. But this can backfire.
Spending too much time together hastens disillusionment. Something inside you starts to push back against him, perhaps because your identity is at risk of being taken over entirely. You know you’re more than his girlfriend. You need your own friends, your own space, and time to do the things you love.
When you take a break from each other—even if it’s just a weekend where you do your own separate things—you come back to the relationship refreshed. You rediscover one another all over again.
I’ve often noticed how women can panic in the early days of a relationship if their guy is out of contact for too long. They worry he’s lost interest. I encourage them to see that time as a gift. Having a break from each other means you’ll enjoy each other even more when you finally see each other again.
Breaks intensify the pleasure.
But it’s hard to take those breaks. We live in a culture where everything has to be fast. Few people are willing to put in, say, a year getting to know someone before deciding if they want a relationship. Love’s timeline has speeded up. If he waits more than an hour before responding to your text message, you wonder what is wrong.
Having a balanced life means taking things slowly. If a few weeks go by before your next date, that’s okay. You’ve got other things going on. Your life needs you.
It’s the fear of scarcity that leads us to want to lock in a good thing as fast as possible, to ensure we don’t lose it.
Don’t let that fear drive you to burn out.
Take it easy. Take a breather every now and again. Trust that you won’t lose what was meant for you.
A guy who won’t wait isn’t worth waiting for.